Genre: YA dystopia
Pages: 305 (hardcover)
Published: 2011 by Putnam
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
I stumbled across Legend in my university's library, of all places. I was, like, wait, ya'll don't have any fun books! Who donated this fun book which I've seen all around the blogosphere to your collection of psychology textbooks and ancient Babylonian tablets? Needless to say, I snatched what's probably the most entertaining book in my uni's library and took it back to my dorm.
Legend is definitely a YA dystopia, and a decent one at that. It has all the elements I've come to know and love (maybe know a little too well). The story alternates between the POVs of June and Day; their POVs are very similar in nature, despite their vastly different backgrounds-- June being a rich and brilliant military girl and Day a superb athlete and tactical genius from the slums and the Republic's most wanted criminal. He's also a fifteen year old teenage boy-- must try to suspend disbelief. Day and June have some Insta-love going on, and I wasn't all that captivated by their romance despite liking both characters fairly well. (Day more so than June.)
But, anyway, the dystopia cliches are everywhere. This part of the former United States is called "The Republic
In short, I don't feel like Legend is an original kind of dystopian story. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it: this is a great quick read, perfect for, say, breaks between studying for finals week. I think Marie Lu is a pretty skilled writer, even if a little cliched, and I liked the characters of Day and June and her brother Metias. (The villain, or probable villain-- this is the first book in a series-- was one of the flattest I'd ever read about, though. The "president" figurehead type is just about like President Snow.) I thought it was cool how the Colonies seems to be the people in the Southeastern US (waves) and how the residents of the Republic don't realize they were once joined in the union of the United States, but see them as terrorists.
The next book hints that we will see a lot more of these Colony spies and so-called terrorists-- I can't wait, because I have the feeling that, like District Thirteen, they have more than a few more tricks hidden up their sleeves than the Republic is willing to admit to its citizens or soldiers. You know how the citizens of dystopian civilizations are: they know nothing.
If only these citizens/military personnel would read more dystopian YA, they might realize that their government is: poisoning people/ kidnapping them and experimenting on them in laboratories/ turning them into flawless soldiers or that those government-mandated pills are actually causing them to be devoid of emotion/follow all orders, then, well, I guess there wouldn't be a dystopian genre. And that would be no fun.